The first-ever live BetMGM Poker Championship finally took place, breaking its $1 million guarantee. The event was scheduled to begin on June 23, 2022, and run through June 26. It was the headline event of the 2022 ARIA Poker Classic series.
The success of the event has also sparked rumors about the debut of BetMGM Poker NV. It attracted 343 players, paying a buy-in of $3,500 to play no-limit hold’em. This pushed the guaranteed prize pool to $1, 097,600 shared among the top 44 finishers.
Several reasons could have contributed to the success of the event. However, being the headline event of the ARIA Poker Classic propelled the success. The classic series began on June 1 and is scheduled to end on July 17.
The recent championship is the second BetMGM’s major successful online satellite campaign across its other markets. The first campaign supported March Poker Mania, an event running in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan.
Could BetMGM Challenge WSOP/888?
The ARIA Poker Classic operator had already announced the seven-week series, including the $3,500 NLHE event. The branding with the BetMGM name was just a way the two parties could benefit.
While ARIA Poker Classic operator benefited from increased popularity, BetMGM used the opportunity to find whether it stood any chance of competing with WSOP/888 Network.
WSOP Nevada is the only online poker operator in the Silver State. The operator debuted its operations in 2014 after the exit of Ultimate Bet. South Point Poker was also operated in the state but folded after failing to acquire a significant market share.
Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, and Delaware have signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. The compact allows poker players to combine player pools among the four states.
With Michigan joining the compact in May, operators can combine player pools across the four states. In other words, BetMGM can start offering online poker games to Nevada as soon as it completes several requirements.
Meanwhile, WSOP/888 enjoys a monopoly. It is the only operator that operates in all four states under the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. It operates in NJ as WSOP NJ and 888poker NJ, and WSOP NV in the Silver State. It also runs three racinos in Delaware using 888poker software.
There has been speculation that partypoker US Network will link BetMGM Poker Michigan with Borgata Poker NJ, partypoker NJ, and BetMGM Poker NJ.
While the link in the two states could dent WSOP/888 market share, a five-room poker network in three states would make the BetMGM brand a 50-50 venture between MGM Resort International and Entain. This would create more competition hence the need to launch BetMGM Poker NV.
Weissman Won BetMGM Championship
Joey Weissman was one of the 44 players that shared the guaranteed prize pool. The New York poker pro won $224,236 after knocking out three players with various hands, including a royal flush.
Paul Hoefer came in second, winning $159,152. The German player was the only poker player outside America to make it to the final table of six.
A Californian player, Noel Rodriguez, came in third, pocketing $104,272. Benji Felson completed the top five, winning $51,587. He had played an online qualifier to secure a seat at the final table.